Malacañang fired back at Senator Antonio Trillanes IV after he claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte can be either seriously ill or simply too lazy for taking “power naps” during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Singapore.
“Accusation that the President is lazy or seriously ill to perform his functions as Head of State and Government just because he had to take power naps in between a few events to catch on some sleep and energize himself and avoid the embarrassment of dozing off during one of the meetings is a product of a witless if not a malicious mind,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in statement.
Contrary to Trillanes’ claim that Duterte’s nap was a “big problem” for the country, Panelo said the 73-year-old Filipino leader could “work like hell as if there is no tomorrow”.
“We have witnessed how this President has chained himself to a punishing work ethic that saw him shuttling back and forth to the provinces to attend to needs of the hapless victims of war and disaster stricken areas, to condole with – and assist – the grieving families of soldiers and policemen killed in the aftermath of rebellion and terrorist atrocities, raise the spirits of those engaged in law enforcements, stops the hands of clock as he pores over documents concerning governance till the wee hours of the morning,” Panelo said.
Last Wednesday, Panelo said Duterte did not attend few meetings of the 33rd ASEAN Related Summits to take “power naps to catch on sleep”.
He said Duterte has designated Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to represent him and to read his remarks in four meetings where the President did not attend.
The four meetings include: the ASEAN-Australia Informal Breakfast Summit, the 20th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, the Working Lunch hosted by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Second Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit.
“Despite the lingering pain caused by an accident that he constantly endures, he administers to the affairs of the state without regard to time and condition. With this kind of zest for work it becomes unavoidable that the President loses sleep that nourishes the body. In such a situation, he will have no recourse but to take power naps between official activities,” Panelo said.
“This was the situation when the President had to skip attending a few events in the ASEAN Summit that required him only to read prepared statements, a similar requirement given to the other heads of states, which task could be performed by the countries’ foreign secretaries or ministers. The event did not require his physical presence,” he added.
Panelo said Duterte has nevertheless attended all the remaining five events during the Day Four of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits including the closing ceremony.
From Singapore, Duterte proceeded on Friday to Papua New Guinea to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting slated from Nov. 17 to 18.
Duterte is set to meet at least 1,000 members of the Filipino community in a gathering to be held Friday afternoon in Papua New Guinea.
“We assure our people that the President is more than able to fulfill his commitment to the nation,” Panelo said.
Panelo slapped Trillanes, top critic of the Duterte administration, for embarking in his usual “publicity getting stunts by maligning the President”.
“After spending eight years of unremarkable military service with no combat experience, he (Trillanes) wasted the people’s money that paid for his schooling in the Philippine Military Academy by marching to a Makati hotel and infamously staging a failed coup and a rebellion that not only disrupted the nation’s tranquility but drove away investors as well, to the sufferance of the country’s economy” Panelo said.
“Not having been given the enormous constitutional duty of governing the country, Senator Trillanes, who after having been undeservingly released from jail owing to a flawed amnesty grant, continues to perform acts against the constituted authorities even using the Senate to shield him from his criminal acts, and having ignored the demands of ethical refinements,” he added. (PNA)